seeking & creating : researching & discovering : applying & practicing

sustainability in design = changing mindsets + deeds

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Currently reading: Cradle to Cradle

Finally got my paws on this book! 

Or get it from Amazon:

As described in Professor McDonough's personal website:

"William McDonough's book, written with his colleague, the German chemist Michael Braungart, is a manifesto calling for the transformation of human industry through ecologically intelligent design.

Through historical sketches on the roots of the industrial revolution; commentary on science, nature and society; descriptions of key design principles; and compelling examples of innovative products and business strategies already reshaping the marketplace, McDonough and Braungart make the case that an industrial system that "takes, makes and wastes" can become a creator of goods and services that generate ecological, social and economic value.

In Cradle to Cradle, McDonough and Braungart argue that the conflict between industry and the environment is not an indictment of commerce but an outgrowth of purely opportunistic design.

The design of products and manufacturing systems growing out of the Industrial Revolution reflected the spirit of the day-and yielded a host of unintended yet tragic consequences.
Today, with our growing knowledge of the living earth, design can reflect a new spirit. In fact, the authors write, when designers employ the intelligence of natural systems—the effectiveness of nutrient cycling, the abundance of the sun's energy—they can create products, industrial systems, buildings, even regional plans that allow nature and commerce to fruitfully co-exist.

Cradle to Cradle maps the lineaments of McDonough and Braungart's new design paradigm, offering practical steps on how to innovate within today's economic environment.

Part social history, part green business primer, part design manual, the book makes plain that the re-invention of human industry is not only within our grasp, it is our best hope for a future of sustaining prosperity.

In addition to describing the hopeful, nature-inspired design principles that are making industry both prosperous and sustainable, the book itself is a physical symbol of the changes to come. It is printed on a synthetic 'paper,' made from plastic resins and inorganic fillers, designed to look and feel like top quality paper while also being waterproof and rugged.

And the book can be easily recycled in localities with systems to collect polypropylene, like that in yogurt containers. This 'treeless' book points the way toward the day when synthetic books, like many other products, can be used, recycled, and used again without losing any material quality—in cradle to cradle cycles."

...hmmm, will post thoughts upon finishing the book...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Upcycling idea: Making a book-cover out of a MSFW (Melbourne Spring Fashion Week) show bag

Something I did recently to make myself feel better after losing my sketchbook full of 2010 design ideas and drawings. A nicely covered, relatively weatherproof and 'hard-covered' new sketchbook which I dearly hope will never get lost!

What I had on hand:
Sewing thread
A slightly damaged MSFW 2o10 showbag printed with cute Gorman designed graphics
Masking tape (on hindsight double-sided tape would have worked better)

If you find yourself wondering what the hell to do with those yucky freebie polypropylene 'enviro' bags that keep getting pushed in your face, consider using the material to protect and cover a treasured book. The material is quite you can embroider it or print onto it to create something more aesthetically pleasing. Considering how non-biodegradable the material is, it seems wiser to put the stuff to further use instead of sending it to landfill once the bag's seams come apart (which does happen quite quickly doesn't it?)

On another note, this is such a symbolic object of abuse and green-washing, isn't it? All the big brands are just jumping on the bandwagon and producing them by the millions to use as marketing collateral. Have you ever wondered how much more resources are wasted producing these bags as compared to paper bags? Not to mention the carbon footprint, greenhouse gases produced, toxic chemicals used...

Message from Earth: Organic Matters

When deciding between non-organic versus organic fabrication, this argument makes a lot of sense...and reveals a future of profitable business opportunity integrated with social responsibility, ethics, combined with individual and community well-being.

One wonders when 'organic' will become the mainstream operations model, rather than the unfortunately more expensive exception it is at the moment.

Anvil Knitwear, a leading manufacturer of sustainable apparel, premiered a digital short at Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America Concert at Miller Park in Milwaukee on October 2, as part of its sponsorship of the event. The thought provoking video educates consumers about the impact of pesticide use on the environment and farmers and encourages consumers to support organic farmers.